Honors Capstone

Educational Experience of Undocumented Latinx Students and their Families in the New Political Climate

SPA Leadership Symposium

Under the Honors University Program, I had to complete a 6 credit capstone to receive Honors recognition for my major, Justice and Law. Attending the Public Policy Fellowship over the summer empowered me to advocate even more for communities of color such as the immigrant community. I decided that I wanted to research the experiences of undocumented students in the 2016 election. The election had been very unconventional and affected almost all minority groups in the United States. However, I believed that the most vulnerable population during this election and current administration was the undocumented immigrant community and I wanted to give them a voice during these unprecedented times.

My research question stated how the current issue of immigration policy under Trump, the Supreme Court split decision in United States v. Texas, as well as DAPA and DACA affect the access and success of education for undocumented students and their families. Furthermore, how it negatively affects the economy because these undocumented individuals cannot receive permits to work. President Trump’s immigration policies has caused undocumented students as well as student citizens to become more anxious, stressed, and depressed regarding their status and the status of their families. I was able to interview eight students who were either undocumented or had family members who were undocumented about this election. I found that all students felt stressed, anxious, or fearful under this administration because of the uncertainty of their future and their family’s.

Furthermore, the majority of students revealed that their educational success was affected by this election. For instance, they had to ask for extension on their papers, when they never had to before and they missed classes because they could not focus in class. I was able to present my research at several conferences and I hope that through these conferences I was able to educated other professors and students about the rights that undocumented students. We should not disregard the effects this election had on this population because of their lack of papers when they have resided in the United States for as long as I have. This research aimed to contribute to the inclusiveness and rights of undocumented students and students with undocumented parents in the United States.

Please click the link below if you would like to read the whole paper.